Corporate-Sponsored Foundations and Earnings Management
Posted: 17 Jan 2006
This study examines the strategic use of corporate philanthropy programs to achieve financial reporting objectives. Corporate-sponsored foundations allow managers to maintain stable levels of giving to charitable causes while providing substantial discretion as to the amount of contribution expense recorded on the income statement in any given period. I find that firms reporting small earnings increases make income-increasing discretionary foundation funding choices. This result is associated with firms that have strong equity market incentives to manage earnings. The evidence presented in this paper is consistent with firms using their charitable foundations as off-balance sheet reserves.
Keywords: corporate philanthropy, earnings management, private foundations, consecutive earnings increases
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